Tigers Wrap Up Bowl Practice

ORLANDO – At approximately 4:30 p.m., Christmas Day, the Clemson football team walked off the practice field for the final time this season. All that's left now for the Tigers are a few meetings as they prepare to take on Colorado Tuesday night in the Champs Sports Bowl.

"Now that all the physical work is done, now it becomes more mental," Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden said. "It is the last practice, but I think they all understand that it's about finishing."

Nonetheless, it still was the final practice of the season. And Bowden likes where his team is at this point. But there remain a few jitters.

"I think we've practiced pretty good all year and I think we've showed up for every game to play and I sense the same thing with these practices," he said. "I'm kind of anxious to see how they play, because we've been able to accomplish that through the normal course of the season, but again a four or five week layover with the bowl game, I'm anxious to see if we can carry on that momentum from the end of the season to the bowl game."

CHRISTMAS IN ORLANDO: When Bowden awoke early Sunday morning, it just didn't feel right. He looked out his hotel window and saw the palm trees and swaying in the 60-degree weather. To him, this wasn't Christmas.

"It doesn't seem like Christmas, it really doesn't," he said. "It's the first time I've ever, and most these players and probably the first time for a lot of these coaches that they've been gone. … This surely doesn't seem like Christmas Day, more for the weather than anything."

Bowden said he got the same thing he gets every year.

"I got clothes," he said. "That's all you get at my age is clothes."

HO HUM: While most of the players enjoyed going to Universal Studios and taking in the Orlando sites, freshman cornerback Ray Ray McElrathbey is just going through the motions.

For him, it's been there, done that.

"Outside of football, it's decent, it's ok," he said with a depressed expression. "It's nothing major. We haven't done anything too great.

"I went to Universal last year for two days and I was there 12 hours each day, so it's kind of old for me right about now. I wanted to go to Disney World. I was the only one that wanted to go to Disney World and they made me go to Universal."

During practice, which oddly enough is what he's enjoyed the most, McElrathbey has spent is time playing receiver, running back and quarterback on the scout team. He's actually taking a liking to show his "skills."

"I take pride in making them miss," he said. "It's fun. It's what I do. I always like making them miss."

He added that it's not disappointing knowing that he's working hard and will still have to sit on the bench the entire game for the 12th time this season.

"You know that eventually it will be your time and your chance to play and your time to shine," he said. "When you get that chance, you've got to take advantage of it."

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